Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Sermon : Baptism And The Great Commission

Expand Messages
  • Grant&Cathie-Iris:Soles
    http://www.albanycrpc.org/Sermons.htm Baptism And The Great Commission Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:19 Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church, Albany, NY
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 12, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
       
      Baptism And The Great Commission
      Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:19
      Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church, Albany, NY
      September 5, 2004
      Rev. Greg L. Price

      The Great Commission is not simply Christ's call to
      convert the nations-- it is Christ's call to disciple
      the nations.  By that I mean the Great Commission is
      not simply interested in converts to Christ, but is
      most importantly interested in disciples to Christ.
      In fact, converts and their children who do not become
      students in the School of Christ by being baptized and
      being instructed in the doctrine of Christ are not
      being discipled as commanded by Christ.  That is not
      to downplay in any way the need for conversion and
      trusting Jesus Christ alone for one's eternal
      salvation.  It is simply to say that being a
      disciple/student of Christ involves more than a
      profession of faith in Christ.  It is coming to Christ
      by faith AND it is growing in the grace and knowledge
      of Christ by faith.

      Who does Christ have in mind when He declares that
      faithful ministers are to disciple the nations?  Who
      are these disciples?  Are they only those old enough
      to know and trust in Christ alone for their eternal
      salvation or do these disciples also include all those
      infants and small children of believers as well?  Let
      us turn our attention this Lord's Day to those who are
      to be baptized as disciples/students in the school of
      Christ.  The main points from our text are the
      following two questions: (1) Who Are The Nations That
      Are To Be Baptized (Matthew 28:19)? and (2) Aren't
      Only Those Who Believe Suppose To Be Baptized (Mark
      16:15,16)? 
       
      1. Who Are The Nations That Are To Be Baptized
      (Matthew 28:19)?

      A. This appearance of the resurrected Christ is the
      eighth recorded appearance that we have considered.
      1. Let's review those appearances of the resurrected
      Christ again:  (1) Mary individually, (2) Several
      women without Mary who had been to the empty tomb, (3)
      The two disciples on the road to Emmaus, (4) Peter
      individually, (5) The apostles as a group without
      Thomas, (6) The apostles as a group with Thomas, (7)
      The seven apostles who fished at the Sea of Galilee,
      and (8) The apostles as a group and probably 500 other
      followers of Christ (mentioned by Paul in 1
      Corinthians 15:6) here in an isolated location at a
      mountain in Galilee where this Great Commission of
      Christ is delivered.   
      2. Just as the Law of God was delivered by Moses at
      Mount Sinai, so the Gospel of God was delivered by
      Christ at this unidentified mountain in Galilee.  Dear
      ones, the Moral Law of God is not ended or annulled by
      the Gospel of Christ--it is still used to show us our
      sin and rebellion against God and our need of God's
      only Redeemer (Jesus Christ) if we would be saved from
      His wrath and condemnation that we justly deserve.
      The Law of God does not justify us or make us
      righteous in the sight of God, for none of us can
      perfectly keep it as God demands.  It is powerless to
      save us from sin.  It can only show us the will of God
      for our lives and where we have disobeyed a holy God.

      3. It is the Gospel (or good news) of God that
      reveals to us what the amazing grace of God has
      accomplished in sending Christ to rescue undeserving
      sinners like you and me chosen in love from the
      foundation of the world.  Only the Gospel which Christ
      commissioned His ministers to proclaim can smother the
      fiery flames of God's holy justice for our
      law-breaking.  Only the righteousness of Christ can
      make us righteous before the tribunal of God.  Only
      the forgiveness of God once and for all removes the
      guilt and eternal condemnation of God.  The Law of God
      from Mount Sinai which condemned us has been kept for
      us by our Savior Jesus Christ.  The Law of God is no
      longer in the hands of a Judge who condemns us who
      trust in Christ, but is now in the hands of a Mediator
      who loves us.  When the Law of God is preceded by the
      grace of God, we are led into truth and conformed to
      the image of Christ.  When the Law of God is not
      preceded by the grace of God, we are led us into
      despair and hopelessness.  Remember that the Ten
      Commandments taken by themselves are a Covenant of
      Works that bring hopelessness and condemnation, but
      that the Ten Commandments taken with the Preface are a
      Covenant of Grace that bring hope and salvation.
      Listen to the Preface:  "I am the LORD thy God, which
      have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the
      house of bondage."  Therefore, because I have redeemed
      thee, Israel, "Thou shalt have no other gods before
      me" etc.  All praise be to our Savior who speaks not
      only from Mount Sinai, but speaks from the mountain in
      Galilee.

      B. The resurrected Christ speaking with all power in
      heaven and in earth as God's only Mediator declares:
      "Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations" (Matthew
      28:19).  As I noted in the last sermon, the word for
      "teach" here is actually the verbal form of the word
      "disciple" ("Go ye therefore, and DISCIPLE all
      nations").  In other words, make all nations STUDENTS
      in the school of Christ.  For a disciple is a learner,
      pupil, or student.  Strictly speaking, this is the
      only command (or imperative) uttered by the Lord in
      the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20.
      The command is:  DISCIPLE all the nations.  The way in
      which that command is to be fulfilled is by the two
      participles that follow:  baptizing and teaching (this
      teaching is a different word than the word translated
      "teach" in verse 19--it means to instruct and give
      understanding of the truth).  Thus, the Great
      Commission is realized as ministers administer the
      sacraments and as they teach the gospel, doctrine,
      worship, and church government He has commanded (and
      only that).  The sacraments and the preaching of God's
      Word go hand in hand.  For you understand the meaning
      of the sacraments by the Gospel that is preached, and
      you are strengthened in your faith in the Gospel by
      the sacraments that are administered.  Thus, both the
      administration of the sacraments and the preaching of
      the Gospel are the specific calling of the faithful
      minister of Jesus Christ alone.

      C. We come now to the question:  Who are all the
      nations that we are to make students in the school of
      Christ? 
      1. First, nations may be used in a political sense.
      A nation has a government and leaders that rule by
      certain laws and constitutions.  Are all governments
      and leaders of all nations in this sense to become
      students in the school of Christ?  Absolutely as we
      see in Psalm 2:10-12 and Revelation 11:15.  Dear ones,
      bringing all governments and constitutions into the
      school of Christ will be accomplished by the Spirit of
      God and the Gospel of Christ (Zechariah 4:6,7).  And
      the glue that will hold the nations together in the
      school of Christ is national covenanting (Isaiah
      19:18-21).  Although we have seen nations covenant to
      be the Lord's during the First and Second Reformations
      (especially the Solemn League and Covenant of the
      Three Kingdoms), this will be fully realized in all
      nations in the millennium when "the fullness of the
      Gentiles" (or nations) is come as prophesied by the
      apostle Paul in Romans 11:25 (and as likewise taught
      in Psalm 72:11; Isaiah 2:2).
      2. Not only may we view nations politically (through
      their governments, leaders, laws, and constitutions)
      as coming into the school of Christ, but the second
      way to view nations is as individual citizens of those
      nations.  The command of Christ in the Great
      Commission is also directed to the CITIZENS of all
      nations.  All the citizens of those nations of the
      world are commanded by Christ to be discipled (Mark
      16:15 says "every creature" that is every rational
      creature).  As the apostles of Christ and succeeding
      ministers of Christ go into the world no man, woman,
      or CHILD is to be left out of the school of Christ
      which is the Church of Jesus Christ.  For citizens of
      a nation are composed of men, women, and children.
      Certainly there would be no doubt on the part of any
      that adults would be included in the nations of which
      Christ here speaks.  But how do we know that children
      (even infants) were included in the nations of which
      Christ here speaks?  Let me explain for you how we
      know that when Christ commands His ministers to
      disciple the nations that even infant children are
      included within the nations to be discipled, baptized,
      and taught as they are able.
      a. First, the everlasting promise God made to
      Abraham in Genesis 17:4,5 was that Abraham would be
      "the father of many nations" (not simply the father of
      the nation of Israel).  The Great Commission given by
      Christ from that mountain has in view the everlasting
      promise made to Abraham (for "all nations" are to be
      discipled).  God gave to Abraham and to his children
      (Genesis 17:7) an outward seal that the everlasting
      promise made to him would be realized in God's
      appointed time.  The confirming seal of that promise
      to Abraham was the Old Testament sacrament of
      circumcision.  That outward seal of God's promise was
      applied not only to Abraham who believed in the God
      who made this glorious promise of worldwide salvation
      through Christ, but was also commanded by God to be
      applied to the children (yea infant children) of
      Abraham who did not yet have the capacity to believe
      in the promise of God (as we see in Genesis 17:12).
      That covenant made with Abraham is called an
      everlasting covenant (in Genesis 17:7) and that same
      everlasting promise God made to Abraham is still true
      in this age as we see in Romans 4:16,17 (Galatians
      3:8).  We who believe in Christ from every nation are
      the children of Abraham.  And just as the confirming
      seal of circumcision was divinely appointed in the
      covenant made with Abraham to be applied to infants as
      members of the nation in order to be discipled in the
      school of Christ or in the Church of Christ, so
      likewise the confirming seal of Baptism (the new
      covenant equivalent to circumcision according to
      Colossians 2:11.12) is divinely appointed to be
      applied to infants of believers presently because
      infants (like adults) are individual members of all
      the nations to be discipled.  Whatever may be argued
      against baptizing children in the New Covenant may
      also be argued against circumcising children in the
      Old Covenant for circumcision was a sign and seal of
      the righteousness received by faith (according to
      Romans 4:11). 
      b. Whereas the order for adults (like Abraham) is
      to believe and then to be baptized, the order for
      infants and children (like Ishmael and Isaac) is to be
      baptized and then to believe as they are enabled by
      God's grace.  Dear ones, since the Great Commission is
      the realization of this promise to Abraham that he
      would be the father of many nations, those members of
      the nation that were to be circumcised (adult and
      child) in the Old Covenant are also those members of
      the nation that are to be baptized (adult and child)
      in the New Covenant (except now females are included
      in the covenant sign of Baptism). 
      c. If infants and children are not members or
      citizens of the nations, why does Paul say that he was
      BORN a citizen of Rome rather than acquiring it later
      when he became an adult (Acts 22:27,28)?  It is true
      that as a child grows in knowledge and understanding
      there are more rights of citizenship that he is able
      to enjoy, but his right of citizenship is secured by
      his birth in that nation.  Dear ones, if children are
      not citizens of nations then they should not be
      baptized.  However, if they are citizens of nations,
      they should be baptized according to the Great
      Commission.
      d. I am sure glad our Baptist brethren do not
      approach membership in the family in the same way they
      approach membership in the Church (where understanding
      and faith must precede membership).  The Lord calls
      the Church a family to teach us that even infants are
      members.  The Lord calls the Church a holy nation to
      teach us that even infants are citizens in Christ's
      kingdom.  When children are born members of family and
      nation they have the rights of membership, but they
      are taught as they grow what their membership means.
      So likewise with membership in the Church.  

      2. Aren't Only Those Who Believe Suppose To Be
      Baptized (Mark 16:15,16)?

      A. We turn now to Mark's Gospel where after the Great
      Commission (in Mark 16:15) Christ likewise addresses
      the subject of Baptism.  At this point our Baptist
      brethren raise an objection to what has been said
      about the infant children of believers being baptized.
       It is maintained by Baptists that the biblical order
      is clearly presented here for us to follow in Mark
      16:16:  faith and then Baptism ("He that believeth and
      is baptized shall be saved").  And since infant
      children do not have the capacity to visibly profess
      faith in Christ, they should not be visibly baptized
      with water.  Our Baptist brethren believe that Mark
      16:16 is Christ's own commentary concerning Baptism in
      Matthew 28:19:  believe and be baptized.  They would
      likewise see the same pattern in passages like Acts
      2:38 ("Repent and be baptized").  How do we respond to
      this objection?
      1. Let us look at the entire verse as it is recorded
      in Mark 16:16:  "He that believeth and is baptized
      shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be
      damned."  Note carefully that if this verse is
      teaching faith must always precede Baptism (thus
      eliminating the possibility of infant Baptism), then
      this verse is also teaching faith must always precede
      salvation (thus eliminating the possibility of infant
      salvation).  For it is not only those that believe
      that are to be baptized, but also those who believe
      that shall be saved.  And carefully note again that
      Mark 16:16 closes by saying that those who do not
      believe (which infants do not have the capacity to do
      audibly or visibly), SHALL BE DAMNED.  Therefore, dear
      ones, if the Baptist position is biblical wherein only
      those who first give a credible profession of faith
      can be baptized, we have a bigger problem than the
      impossibility of infant Baptism--we have to face the
      problem of the impossibility of infant salvation.
      2. But does not the rest of Scripture teach that God
      is able and does save His elect in the womb or out of
      the womb even in their infancy?  David declares that
      he was saved from infancy (Psalm 22:9,10).  Consider
      what David states concerning the child conceived in
      sin with Bathsheba that died seven days after his
      birth (2 Samuel 12:22,23).  John the Baptist was
      filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in the womb of
      his mother (Luke 1:15).  Our great and mighty God is
      not limited to saving only those who are of sufficient
      knowledge and understanding to express with their lips
      their faith in Jesus Christ.  He is able to and does
      work by His Spirit in the lives of His elect even in
      their infancy (even in the womb) long before they can
      verbalize faith in Jesus Christ. 
      3. So it is established from God's own word that
      elect infants can be regenerated by the Holy Spirit
      even from the womb.  Thus, Christ (in Mark 16:16)
      cannot be teaching that infants who are not capable of
      verbally expressing faith in Him cannot be saved.  We
      join with the Baptists in believing that Christ and
      the rest of the Bible teaches infant salvation!  If
      the resurrected Christ (in Mark 16:16) is not teaching
      that infants who are incapable of verbally expressing
      faith in Him cannot be saved, the resurrected Christ
      likewise is not teaching that infants who are
      incapable of verbally expressing faith in Him cannot
      be baptized!  For faith in this passage precedes both
      Baptism and salvation.   
      4. Think with me for a moment about infant salvation
      and infant Baptism.  Baptists declare that infants can
      be saved by God, but yet the sign and seal of God's
      promise of salvation (Baptism) is not for them.
      Baptists declare that infants can be members of
      Christ's heavenly and invisible kingdom, but cannot be
      members of Christ's earthly and visible kingdom.  If
      the Lord is saving infants and bringing them by His
      grace into His invisible Church (which is greater),
      how can we keep infants and small children out of His
      visible Church (which is lesser).  If they have a
      place in the heavenly kingdom of Christ, shall we put
      them out and keep them out of the earthly kingdom of
      Christ?  We respond with a resounding "No, absolutely
      not."  For Christ declares, "Of such is the kingdom of
      God" (Mark 10:14). 
      5. The Baptist will respond, "But we do not know
      which infants are truly regenerate in order that we
      might baptize them, and because we don't know, we
      shouldn't do so."  Precisely, just as we do not know
      which adults are truly regenerate in order that we
      might baptize them (as in Acts 8:13 with Simon the
      sorcerer).  We do not baptize anyone (adult or child)
      on the assumption that they are regenerate.  We
      baptize infants on the basis of the promise made to
      them (as the children of believing parents), and we
      baptize adults on the basis of the promise made to
      them (as they profess faith in Christ).  But we do not
      know and are not to assume who is truly regenerate.
      When infants come to faith in Christ the promise made
      to them in their Baptism is realized.  If they do not
      come to faith in Christ and the promise made to them
      in their Baptism is despised, they will suffer even a
      greater judgment because they have trampled underfoot
      the grace and mercy of Christ extended to them.
      Likewise with the adult.  If adults profess faith in
      Christ and are baptized, those who truly come to
      Christ in faith (whether before or after their
      Baptism) realize the promise made to them in their
      Baptism.  Likewise adults who profess faith in Christ
      and are baptized but do not truly embrace Christ alone
      for their eternal salvation will bring greater
      condemnation upon themselves.  For they too have
      despised the grace and mercy extended to them. 
      6. Dear ones, passages like Mark 16:16 that
      emphasize faith and then Baptism or like passages
      found in Acts 2:38 that emphasize repentance and then
      Baptism.  But such passages do not disqualify infants
      from Baptism.  For they are addressed to adults who
      are capable of expressing verbally both faith and
      repentance (as in 2 Thessalonians 3:10:  "If any would
      not work, neither should he eat."  Because infants
      cannot work should they go without food?).  We agree
      that adult converts to Christ should follow the
      order--believe and be baptized.  But God has a
      different order for infants of believing parents:
      Baptism and then when they are capable they profess
      both faith and repentance. 
      7. Dear ones, I want to make perfectly clear that
      although Baptism is intended to strengthen the faith
      of His people in the promises made to them in their
      Baptism, Baptism is not to be rested in as the ground
      of our salvation.  Baptism is a help to our faith, but
      it is not the object of our faith.  We do not believe
      the Bible teaches that water Baptism saves us for many
      adults in the Scriptures were saved and regenerated
      before they were ever baptized (as in the case of
      Cornelius in Acts 10:44-44).  Infants were saved and
      regenerated before they were baptized (like John the
      Baptist in Luke 1:15).  And some were baptized (like
      Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:13) who were not truly
      converted to Christ.  Water Baptism is a precious sign
      and seal from Christ of the promises of salvation MADE
      to us and to our children, but those promises are not
      REALIZED until God sovereignly regenerates us and
      grants us faith in Christ by His grace.  Although
      Baptism is not absolutely necessary in order to be
      saved, neither is it optional to new converts to
      Christ nor to the children of believing parents. 
      8. I ask you today, what are you doing with your
      Baptism?  Are you using it as a means of grace to
      strengthen your faith in Christ and in the promises
      made to you?  Have you forgotten what your Baptism
      means in regard to what God has promised to you?  As
      Christians we fall into times of doubt,
      discouragement, and a sense of hopelessness (like
      Elijah) as we struggle with besetting sins, sinful
      habits, physical afflictions, doubt and unbelief,
      lust, discontentment with our present lot in life,
      persecution and trials, but the Lord our God has given
      to us not only the Word of God to encourage our faith,
      not only prayer to strengthen our faith, not only the
      fellowship of beloved Christians to uphold us when we
      feel like we would fall, He has also given us His
      sacraments:  Baptism and the Lord's Supper.  How often
      do we avail ourselves of our Baptism to strengthen our
      faith?  To not do so, dear ones, is like a bride/groom
      receiving a wedding ring and pulling it off after the
      wedding never to look at it or never to stir up the
      solemn promises signified and sealed by that ring.
      Dear ones, if a wedding ring should remind us of the
      promise made to us so as to stir up trust and love in
      our wife/husband, how much more should our Baptism
      remind us of the gracious promises made to us by
      Christ so as to stir up our trust and love in Him.  We
      are not to trust in our Baptism to save us, but we are
      to use our Baptism to encourage our faith in the
      promises of Christ.
      9. As I close today, the resurrected Christ closes
      with a most sobering truth in Mark 16:16:  "He that
      believeth not shall be damned."  Those who do not lay
      hold of Jesus Christ and His righteousness by faith
      alone will suffer everlasting condemnation and torment
      in hell.  We can fool a lot of people, but we cannot
      fool God.  Are you trusting in Christ alone for your
      eternal salvation?  Or are you trusting in your
      Baptism, or in your membership in the Church, or in
      your coming to the Lord's Supper, or even in your
      faith or repentance to save you?  Saving faith is
      resting in Christ alone and His righteousness.  Saving
      faith is not looking outward to the works you have
      done or inward to your faith, love, repentance, or
      anything else to save you.  Saving faith is looking to
      the righteousness of Christ, to the forgiveness of
      Christ, and to the life of Christ and reaching out by
      faith to receive those promises made to you in the
      Gospel.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
      shalt be saved!  And if you have believed in Christ
      already, renew your faith in Christ as you remember
      the promises made to you in your Baptism.







    • jmcovenanter
      I must say this is a most interesting sermon. Very helpful and challenging. Thank you for posting it. Please pray for me as I continue thinking of what has
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 13, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        I must say this is a most interesting sermon. Very helpful and
        challenging. Thank you for posting it. Please pray for me as I
        continue thinking of what has been solemnly presented.

        jm

        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Grant&Cathie-
        Iris:Soles" <dsranch@y...> wrote:
        > http://www.albanycrpc.org/Sermons.htm
        >
        > Baptism And The Great Commission
        > Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:19
        > Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church, Albany, NY
        > September 5, 2004
        > Rev. Greg L. Price
        >
        > The Great Commission is not simply Christ's call to
        > convert the nations-- it is Christ's call to disciple
        > the nations. By that I mean the Great Commission is
        > not simply interested in converts to Christ, but is
        > most importantly interested in disciples to Christ.
        > In fact, converts and their children who do not become
        > students in the School of Christ by being baptized and
        > being instructed in the doctrine of Christ are not
        > being discipled as commanded by Christ. That is not
        > to downplay in any way the need for conversion and
        > trusting Jesus Christ alone for one's eternal
        > salvation. It is simply to say that being a
        > disciple/student of Christ involves more than a
        > profession of faith in Christ. It is coming to Christ
        > by faith AND it is growing in the grace and knowledge
        > of Christ by faith.
        >
        > Who does Christ have in mind when He declares that
        > faithful ministers are to disciple the nations? Who
        > are these disciples? Are they only those old enough
        > to know and trust in Christ alone for their eternal
        > salvation or do these disciples also include all those
        > infants and small children of believers as well? Let
        > us turn our attention this Lord's Day to those who are
        > to be baptized as disciples/students in the school of
        > Christ. The main points from our text are the
        > following two questions: (1) Who Are The Nations That
        > Are To Be Baptized (Matthew 28:19)? and (2) Aren't
        > Only Those Who Believe Suppose To Be Baptized (Mark
        > 16:15,16)?
        >
        > 1. Who Are The Nations That Are To Be Baptized
        > (Matthew 28:19)?
        >
        > A. This appearance of the resurrected Christ is the
        > eighth recorded appearance that we have considered.
        > 1. Let's review those appearances of the resurrected
        > Christ again: (1) Mary individually, (2) Several
        > women without Mary who had been to the empty tomb, (3)
        > The two disciples on the road to Emmaus, (4) Peter
        > individually, (5) The apostles as a group without
        > Thomas, (6) The apostles as a group with Thomas, (7)
        > The seven apostles who fished at the Sea of Galilee,
        > and (8) The apostles as a group and probably 500 other
        > followers of Christ (mentioned by Paul in 1
        > Corinthians 15:6) here in an isolated location at a
        > mountain in Galilee where this Great Commission of
        > Christ is delivered.
        > 2. Just as the Law of God was delivered by Moses at
        > Mount Sinai, so the Gospel of God was delivered by
        > Christ at this unidentified mountain in Galilee. Dear
        > ones, the Moral Law of God is not ended or annulled by
        > the Gospel of Christ--it is still used to show us our
        > sin and rebellion against God and our need of God's
        > only Redeemer (Jesus Christ) if we would be saved from
        > His wrath and condemnation that we justly deserve.
        > The Law of God does not justify us or make us
        > righteous in the sight of God, for none of us can
        > perfectly keep it as God demands. It is powerless to
        > save us from sin. It can only show us the will of God
        > for our lives and where we have disobeyed a holy God.
        >
        > 3. It is the Gospel (or good news) of God that
        > reveals to us what the amazing grace of God has
        > accomplished in sending Christ to rescue undeserving
        > sinners like you and me chosen in love from the
        > foundation of the world. Only the Gospel which Christ
        > commissioned His ministers to proclaim can smother the
        > fiery flames of God's holy justice for our
        > law-breaking. Only the righteousness of Christ can
        > make us righteous before the tribunal of God. Only
        > the forgiveness of God once and for all removes the
        > guilt and eternal condemnation of God. The Law of God
        > from Mount Sinai which condemned us has been kept for
        > us by our Savior Jesus Christ. The Law of God is no
        > longer in the hands of a Judge who condemns us who
        > trust in Christ, but is now in the hands of a Mediator
        > who loves us. When the Law of God is preceded by the
        > grace of God, we are led into truth and conformed to
        > the image of Christ. When the Law of God is not
        > preceded by the grace of God, we are led us into
        > despair and hopelessness. Remember that the Ten
        > Commandments taken by themselves are a Covenant of
        > Works that bring hopelessness and condemnation, but
        > that the Ten Commandments taken with the Preface are a
        > Covenant of Grace that bring hope and salvation.
        > Listen to the Preface: "I am the LORD thy God, which
        > have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the
        > house of bondage." Therefore, because I have redeemed
        > thee, Israel, "Thou shalt have no other gods before
        > me" etc. All praise be to our Savior who speaks not
        > only from Mount Sinai, but speaks from the mountain in
        > Galilee.
        >
        > B. The resurrected Christ speaking with all power in
        > heaven and in earth as God's only Mediator declares:
        > "Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations" (Matthew
        > 28:19). As I noted in the last sermon, the word for
        > "teach" here is actually the verbal form of the word
        > "disciple" ("Go ye therefore, and DISCIPLE all
        > nations"). In other words, make all nations STUDENTS
        > in the school of Christ. For a disciple is a learner,
        > pupil, or student. Strictly speaking, this is the
        > only command (or imperative) uttered by the Lord in
        > the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20.
        > The command is: DISCIPLE all the nations. The way in
        > which that command is to be fulfilled is by the two
        > participles that follow: baptizing and teaching (this
        > teaching is a different word than the word translated
        > "teach" in verse 19--it means to instruct and give
        > understanding of the truth). Thus, the Great
        > Commission is realized as ministers administer the
        > sacraments and as they teach the gospel, doctrine,
        > worship, and church government He has commanded (and
        > only that). The sacraments and the preaching of God's
        > Word go hand in hand. For you understand the meaning
        > of the sacraments by the Gospel that is preached, and
        > you are strengthened in your faith in the Gospel by
        > the sacraments that are administered. Thus, both the
        > administration of the sacraments and the preaching of
        > the Gospel are the specific calling of the faithful
        > minister of Jesus Christ alone.
        >
        > C. We come now to the question: Who are all the
        > nations that we are to make students in the school of
        > Christ?
        > 1. First, nations may be used in a political sense.
        > A nation has a government and leaders that rule by
        > certain laws and constitutions. Are all governments
        > and leaders of all nations in this sense to become
        > students in the school of Christ? Absolutely as we
        > see in Psalm 2:10-12 and Revelation 11:15. Dear ones,
        > bringing all governments and constitutions into the
        > school of Christ will be accomplished by the Spirit of
        > God and the Gospel of Christ (Zechariah 4:6,7). And
        > the glue that will hold the nations together in the
        > school of Christ is national covenanting (Isaiah
        > 19:18-21). Although we have seen nations covenant to
        > be the Lord's during the First and Second Reformations
        > (especially the Solemn League and Covenant of the
        > Three Kingdoms), this will be fully realized in all
        > nations in the millennium when "the fullness of the
        > Gentiles" (or nations) is come as prophesied by the
        > apostle Paul in Romans 11:25 (and as likewise taught
        > in Psalm 72:11; Isaiah 2:2).
        > 2. Not only may we view nations politically (through
        > their governments, leaders, laws, and constitutions)
        > as coming into the school of Christ, but the second
        > way to view nations is as individual citizens of those
        > nations. The command of Christ in the Great
        > Commission is also directed to the CITIZENS of all
        > nations. All the citizens of those nations of the
        > world are commanded by Christ to be discipled (Mark
        > 16:15 says "every creature" that is every rational
        > creature). As the apostles of Christ and succeeding
        > ministers of Christ go into the world no man, woman,
        > or CHILD is to be left out of the school of Christ
        > which is the Church of Jesus Christ. For citizens of
        > a nation are composed of men, women, and children.
        > Certainly there would be no doubt on the part of any
        > that adults would be included in the nations of which
        > Christ here speaks. But how do we know that children
        > (even infants) were included in the nations of which
        > Christ here speaks? Let me explain for you how we
        > know that when Christ commands His ministers to
        > disciple the nations that even infant children are
        > included within the nations to be discipled, baptized,
        > and taught as they are able.
        > a. First, the everlasting promise God made to
        > Abraham in Genesis 17:4,5 was that Abraham would be
        > "the father of many nations" (not simply the father of
        > the nation of Israel). The Great Commission given by
        > Christ from that mountain has in view the everlasting
        > promise made to Abraham (for "all nations" are to be
        > discipled). God gave to Abraham and to his children
        > (Genesis 17:7) an outward seal that the everlasting
        > promise made to him would be realized in God's
        > appointed time. The confirming seal of that promise
        > to Abraham was the Old Testament sacrament of
        > circumcision. That outward seal of God's promise was
        > applied not only to Abraham who believed in the God
        > who made this glorious promise of worldwide salvation
        > through Christ, but was also commanded by God to be
        > applied to the children (yea infant children) of
        > Abraham who did not yet have the capacity to believe
        > in the promise of God (as we see in Genesis 17:12).
        > That covenant made with Abraham is called an
        > everlasting covenant (in Genesis 17:7) and that same
        > everlasting promise God made to Abraham is still true
        > in this age as we see in Romans 4:16,17 (Galatians
        > 3:8). We who believe in Christ from every nation are
        > the children of Abraham. And just as the confirming
        > seal of circumcision was divinely appointed in the
        > covenant made with Abraham to be applied to infants as
        > members of the nation in order to be discipled in the
        > school of Christ or in the Church of Christ, so
        > likewise the confirming seal of Baptism (the new
        > covenant equivalent to circumcision according to
        > Colossians 2:11.12) is divinely appointed to be
        > applied to infants of believers presently because
        > infants (like adults) are individual members of all
        > the nations to be discipled. Whatever may be argued
        > against baptizing children in the New Covenant may
        > also be argued against circumcising children in the
        > Old Covenant for circumcision was a sign and seal of
        > the righteousness received by faith (according to
        > Romans 4:11).
        > b. Whereas the order for adults (like Abraham) is
        > to believe and then to be baptized, the order for
        > infants and children (like Ishmael and Isaac) is to be
        > baptized and then to believe as they are enabled by
        > God's grace. Dear ones, since the Great Commission is
        > the realization of this promise to Abraham that he
        > would be the father of many nations, those members of
        > the nation that were to be circumcised (adult and
        > child) in the Old Covenant are also those members of
        > the nation that are to be baptized (adult and child)
        > in the New Covenant (except now females are included
        > in the covenant sign of Baptism).
        > c. If infants and children are not members or
        > citizens of the nations, why does Paul say that he was
        > BORN a citizen of Rome rather than acquiring it later
        > when he became an adult (Acts 22:27,28)? It is true
        > that as a child grows in knowledge and understanding
        > there are more rights of citizenship that he is able
        > to enjoy, but his right of citizenship is secured by
        > his birth in that nation. Dear ones, if children are
        > not citizens of nations then they should not be
        > baptized. However, if they are citizens of nations,
        > they should be baptized according to the Great
        > Commission.
        > d. I am sure glad our Baptist brethren do not
        > approach membership in the family in the same way they
        > approach membership in the Church (where understanding
        > and faith must precede membership). The Lord calls
        > the Church a family to teach us that even infants are
        > members. The Lord calls the Church a holy nation to
        > teach us that even infants are citizens in Christ's
        > kingdom. When children are born members of family and
        > nation they have the rights of membership, but they
        > are taught as they grow what their membership means.
        > So likewise with membership in the Church.
        >
        > 2. Aren't Only Those Who Believe Suppose To Be
        > Baptized (Mark 16:15,16)?
        >
        > A. We turn now to Mark's Gospel where after the Great
        > Commission (in Mark 16:15) Christ likewise addresses
        > the subject of Baptism. At this point our Baptist
        > brethren raise an objection to what has been said
        > about the infant children of believers being baptized.
        > It is maintained by Baptists that the biblical order
        > is clearly presented here for us to follow in Mark
        > 16:16: faith and then Baptism ("He that believeth and
        > is baptized shall be saved"). And since infant
        > children do not have the capacity to visibly profess
        > faith in Christ, they should not be visibly baptized
        > with water. Our Baptist brethren believe that Mark
        > 16:16 is Christ's own commentary concerning Baptism in
        > Matthew 28:19: believe and be baptized. They would
        > likewise see the same pattern in passages like Acts
        > 2:38 ("Repent and be baptized"). How do we respond to
        > this objection?
        > 1. Let us look at the entire verse as it is recorded
        > in Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized
        > shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be
        > damned." Note carefully that if this verse is
        > teaching faith must always precede Baptism (thus
        > eliminating the possibility of infant Baptism), then
        > this verse is also teaching faith must always precede
        > salvation (thus eliminating the possibility of infant
        > salvation). For it is not only those that believe
        > that are to be baptized, but also those who believe
        > that shall be saved. And carefully note again that
        > Mark 16:16 closes by saying that those who do not
        > believe (which infants do not have the capacity to do
        > audibly or visibly), SHALL BE DAMNED. Therefore, dear
        > ones, if the Baptist position is biblical wherein only
        > those who first give a credible profession of faith
        > can be baptized, we have a bigger problem than the
        > impossibility of infant Baptism--we have to face the
        > problem of the impossibility of infant salvation.
        > 2. But does not the rest of Scripture teach that God
        > is able and does save His elect in the womb or out of
        > the womb even in their infancy? David declares that
        > he was saved from infancy (Psalm 22:9,10). Consider
        > what David states concerning the child conceived in
        > sin with Bathsheba that died seven days after his
        > birth (2 Samuel 12:22,23). John the Baptist was
        > filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in the womb of
        > his mother (Luke 1:15). Our great and mighty God is
        > not limited to saving only those who are of sufficient
        > knowledge and understanding to express with their lips
        > their faith in Jesus Christ. He is able to and does
        > work by His Spirit in the lives of His elect even in
        > their infancy (even in the womb) long before they can
        > verbalize faith in Jesus Christ.
        > 3. So it is established from God's own word that
        > elect infants can be regenerated by the Holy Spirit
        > even from the womb. Thus, Christ (in Mark 16:16)
        > cannot be teaching that infants who are not capable of
        > verbally expressing faith in Him cannot be saved. We
        > join with the Baptists in believing that Christ and
        > the rest of the Bible teaches infant salvation! If
        > the resurrected Christ (in Mark 16:16) is not teaching
        > that infants who are incapable of verbally expressing
        > faith in Him cannot be saved, the resurrected Christ
        > likewise is not teaching that infants who are
        > incapable of verbally expressing faith in Him cannot
        > be baptized! For faith in this passage precedes both
        > Baptism and salvation.
        > 4. Think with me for a moment about infant salvation
        > and infant Baptism. Baptists declare that infants can
        > be saved by God, but yet the sign and seal of God's
        > promise of salvation (Baptism) is not for them.
        > Baptists declare that infants can be members of
        > Christ's heavenly and invisible kingdom, but cannot be
        > members of Christ's earthly and visible kingdom. If
        > the Lord is saving infants and bringing them by His
        > grace into His invisible Church (which is greater),
        > how can we keep infants and small children out of His
        > visible Church (which is lesser). If they have a
        > place in the heavenly kingdom of Christ, shall we put
        > them out and keep them out of the earthly kingdom of
        > Christ? We respond with a resounding "No, absolutely
        > not." For Christ declares, "Of such is the kingdom of
        > God" (Mark 10:14).
        > 5. The Baptist will respond, "But we do not know
        > which infants are truly regenerate in order that we
        > might baptize them, and because we don't know, we
        > shouldn't do so." Precisely, just as we do not know
        > which adults are truly regenerate in order that we
        > might baptize them (as in Acts 8:13 with Simon the
        > sorcerer). We do not baptize anyone (adult or child)
        > on the assumption that they are regenerate. We
        > baptize infants on the basis of the promise made to
        > them (as the children of believing parents), and we
        > baptize adults on the basis of the promise made to
        > them (as they profess faith in Christ). But we do not
        > know and are not to assume who is truly regenerate.
        > When infants come to faith in Christ the promise made
        > to them in their Baptism is realized. If they do not
        > come to faith in Christ and the promise made to them
        > in their Baptism is despised, they will suffer even a
        > greater judgment because they have trampled underfoot
        > the grace and mercy of Christ extended to them.
        > Likewise with the adult. If adults profess faith in
        > Christ and are baptized, those who truly come to
        > Christ in faith (whether before or after their
        > Baptism) realize the promise made to them in their
        > Baptism. Likewise adults who profess faith in Christ
        > and are baptized but do not truly embrace Christ alone
        > for their eternal salvation will bring greater
        > condemnation upon themselves. For they too have
        > despised the grace and mercy extended to them.
        > 6. Dear ones, passages like Mark 16:16 that
        > emphasize faith and then Baptism or like passages
        > found in Acts 2:38 that emphasize repentance and then
        > Baptism. But such passages do not disqualify infants
        > from Baptism. For they are addressed to adults who
        > are capable of expressing verbally both faith and
        > repentance (as in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: "If any would
        > not work, neither should he eat." Because infants
        > cannot work should they go without food?). We agree
        > that adult converts to Christ should follow the
        > order--believe and be baptized. But God has a
        > different order for infants of believing parents:
        > Baptism and then when they are capable they profess
        > both faith and repentance.
        > 7. Dear ones, I want to make perfectly clear that
        > although Baptism is intended to strengthen the faith
        > of His people in the promises made to them in their
        > Baptism, Baptism is not to be rested in as the ground
        > of our salvation. Baptism is a help to our faith, but
        > it is not the object of our faith. We do not believe
        > the Bible teaches that water Baptism saves us for many
        > adults in the Scriptures were saved and regenerated
        > before they were ever baptized (as in the case of
        > Cornelius in Acts 10:44-44). Infants were saved and
        > regenerated before they were baptized (like John the
        > Baptist in Luke 1:15). And some were baptized (like
        > Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:13) who were not truly
        > converted to Christ. Water Baptism is a precious sign
        > and seal from Christ of the promises of salvation MADE
        > to us and to our children, but those promises are not
        > REALIZED until God sovereignly regenerates us and
        > grants us faith in Christ by His grace. Although
        > Baptism is not absolutely necessary in order to be
        > saved, neither is it optional to new converts to
        > Christ nor to the children of believing parents.
        > 8. I ask you today, what are you doing with your
        > Baptism? Are you using it as a means of grace to
        > strengthen your faith in Christ and in the promises
        > made to you? Have you forgotten what your Baptism
        > means in regard to what God has promised to you? As
        > Christians we fall into times of doubt,
        > discouragement, and a sense of hopelessness (like
        > Elijah) as we struggle with besetting sins, sinful
        > habits, physical afflictions, doubt and unbelief,
        > lust, discontentment with our present lot in life,
        > persecution and trials, but the Lord our God has given
        > to us not only the Word of God to encourage our faith,
        > not only prayer to strengthen our faith, not only the
        > fellowship of beloved Christians to uphold us when we
        > feel like we would fall, He has also given us His
        > sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. How often
        > do we avail ourselves of our Baptism to strengthen our
        > faith? To not do so, dear ones, is like a bride/groom
        > receiving a wedding ring and pulling it off after the
        > wedding never to look at it or never to stir up the
        > solemn promises signified and sealed by that ring.
        > Dear ones, if a wedding ring should remind us of the
        > promise made to us so as to stir up trust and love in
        > our wife/husband, how much more should our Baptism
        > remind us of the gracious promises made to us by
        > Christ so as to stir up our trust and love in Him. We
        > are not to trust in our Baptism to save us, but we are
        > to use our Baptism to encourage our faith in the
        > promises of Christ.
        > 9. As I close today, the resurrected Christ closes
        > with a most sobering truth in Mark 16:16: "He that
        > believeth not shall be damned." Those who do not lay
        > hold of Jesus Christ and His righteousness by faith
        > alone will suffer everlasting condemnation and torment
        > in hell. We can fool a lot of people, but we cannot
        > fool God. Are you trusting in Christ alone for your
        > eternal salvation? Or are you trusting in your
        > Baptism, or in your membership in the Church, or in
        > your coming to the Lord's Supper, or even in your
        > faith or repentance to save you? Saving faith is
        > resting in Christ alone and His righteousness. Saving
        > faith is not looking outward to the works you have
        > done or inward to your faith, love, repentance, or
        > anything else to save you. Saving faith is looking to
        > the righteousness of Christ, to the forgiveness of
        > Christ, and to the life of Christ and reaching out by
        > faith to receive those promises made to you in the
        > Gospel. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
        > shalt be saved! And if you have believed in Christ
        > already, renew your faith in Christ as you remember
        > the promises made to you in your Baptism.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.